With a final victory over Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing securing his joint position at the top of the standings, Berntsson reflected, "The day couldn't have been better for us but still it's going to be tough to get into the top seven spots. Racing is always tough and tomorrow we take on Iehl, Radich, Williams and Monnin. We've practiced against Williams and he's looking very strong. Anyone can win though, as we've seen by some results today where lower ranked guys have beaten some of the top guys. It's so close between the teams - it's all about how you perform on the day."
For Richard, two of his four defeats came at the hands of fellow countrymen Iehl and Pierre Antoine Morvan in his opening two races. Williams dispatched him in the next match after which he rallied his team to take a much-needed win against Radich. Any sense of relief was premature though as his team signed off the opening day with a further defeat to Eric Monnin.
"There were a lot of things that went wrong today," commented Richard. "We struggled on lots of little points - Our starts at the beginning of the day were not good although they were improving near the end. It was very difficult and the score is reflective of the way we sailed. We are looking to start again tomorrow, come out fresh and improve on today to make up the ground we've lost."
Morvan is showing the tenacity he displayed earlier in the season on his home waters at Match Race France where he took fifth place. Resounding wins in the first Qualifying Session here against the three Tour Card Holders of Richard, Radich and finally versus Iehl, a race he commanded from start to finish, leaves him with a healthy 4-1 overnight scoreline:
"It was a very good day and could have been a perfect day if we had won our first match but we are looking good for the quarter-finals," said Morvan. "Our aim is to make the semi-finals so hopefully we'll keep sailing this way. It's our aim to get a Tour Card next year so getting these results today is good for us."
Eric Monnin finishes the opening Qualifying Session with one point to his name, just above Swiss Match Race Champion Jérôme Clerc who endured a torrid winless day. Monnin reflected, "It was a very difficult day for us. We got 2 ½ point penalties for two separate collisions which isn't great. They were both very hard decisions and could have gone either way but that's the game. We need to come back and start again. We obviously have some problems interpreting the rules so we will have to work on that for tomorrow."
Standings after the First Qualifying Session:
Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar 5-0
Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team 5-0
Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) Extreme Team Morbihan 4-1
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat 3-2
Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team 3-2
Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team 3-2
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing 2-3
Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing 2-3
Jepser Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners 1-4
Eric Monnin (SUI) Oklays Corum Sailing Team 1-4
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 1-4
Jérôme Clerc (SUI) Team CER 0-5